Caipirinha: potent rum cocktail

23 11 2007

Considered Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha (pronounced kai-pee-reen-ya) is a simple, yet potent concoction best enjoyed when you have plenty of time and don’t need to drive. The flavor deceptively masks the alcohol, making it seem as though you are downing a refreshingly sweet and innocuous lemonade (until you stand up, that is). I served these as a cocktail on Thanksgiving and they were refreshing and tasty (did I mention they were strong?). Here is how you make them: Read the rest of this entry »


Pico de Gallo (is it really rooster’s beak?)

21 11 2007

For those of you that don’t know Spanish, Pico de Gallo literally means “rooster’s beak.” It doesn’t sound very appetizing, but “pico” is the quintessential topping for everything Mexican. It is not a garnish, mind you, but actually a part of a dish to enhance flavor and provide color. In fact, the typical three main ingredients are the same colors used in the Mexican flag.

Typically, pico is made with just three ingredients, so here they are:

  • tomato (pick firm, but ripe ones)
  • onion (white is fine)
  • cilantro
  • fresh lime juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Okay, I said three but I listed five. Let me explain. Read the rest of this entry »

Tangy tomato soup

20 11 2007

Creating a good tomato soup has eluded me for quite some time. I’ve only tried two at restaurants that I’ve really liked. One was a tomato-basil at a french cafe that had a pronounced basil flavor and made with heavy cream. I tried the other at a sandwich shop that had a bright orange color with a fresher, tangier taste. Many times I have tried to recreate both at home with minimal success, until last night.

On a recent visit to Orderup, a restaurant focusing on typical fast food made fresh, I was struck by the bright orange color of the pizza sauce. It had a sweet and tangy taste to it but lacked the heavy tomato-paste texture and flavor. The owner told me that they made the sauce from scratch by simmering tomatoes for a long time. Could my quest for tomato soup really be this simple? If I try this at home, will it work? To my surprise, it did! Remember that I cook by experimentation (see my Recipes page). So, the ingredients below are simply a starting point Read the rest of this entry »